The push to understand what our skincare products contain and the desire to seek out new skin health-boosting ingredients are the current driving forces in today’s beauty market. We take a look at the top six skincare ingredients consumers cannot get enough of at the moment.
Soothing actives and especially antioxidants rank the highest on the must-have lists of beauty addicts and general consumers alike. Following hotly of their heels are ingredients that reinforce the skin’s protective barrier, even out skin tone, are microbiome-friendly and moisture-retaining. These are the skincare ingredients that not only meet this list of demands but, in some cases, surpass it…
Schisandra berries, the Orient’s best-kept beauty secret
Shi… what? When adaptogens first burst onto the wellness scene Schisandra berries fast became the crowning glory for skin and general health alike. Considered the “quintessence of tonic herbs” by Taoist masters, they are well known for their ability to restore optimal skin health.
Once the sole beauty secret of ancient Chinese women, these berries are now widely used to improve skin function. Thanks to their astringent properties, they help skin retain moisture, giving it the appearance of being plumper and full of vitality. There is also a Chinese belief that using Schisandra berries consistently ensures longevity, both inside and out. Indeed, with continued use skin regains its luminosity, becomes clearer and more refined after several months of use.
And it is precisely this coveted ingredient that is one of the most expensive used in Twelve Beauty formulas. You can find it in Ultra Revitalising Elixir, which contains a mixture of potent actives obtained from the enzymatic hydrolysis of Schisandra berries, combined with a unique composition of peptides, sugars and hydroxy acids.
Vitamin B, reactive skin’s new BF
Until recently, the most sought-after vitamins in the beauty world have always been vitamin A and C, but now there is a new kid on the block. Vitamin B. In particular, Niacinamide (B3) and Panthenol (B5). Why all the fuss? Well, studies show that skin absorbs and tolerates both very well, with those prone to dryness or eczema benefiting the most.
Niacinamide is a great skincare ally because it helps keep its barrier function intact, unclog pores, reduces irritation and post-inflammatory pigmentation. Niacinamide is also beneficial for dry or scaly skin as it increases skin’s natural level of ceramides, boosting its moisturising and nourishing function.
B5, also known as Pantothenic acid, is another important B vitamin that is often incorporated into many skincare products. It is known to soothe, soften and keep skin supple. However, its stand-out benefit is its hydration enhancing properties. This means not only does it also reduce transepidermal water loss but it is an effective soothing agent, which makes it perfect for irritated skin.
Best-selling Great Barrier Relief Cream contains both types of vitamin B. Enriched with Niacinamide and Panthenol (a stable biologically active form of vitamin B5), this hand cream is proven to both reduce hyperpigmentation and restore optimum hydration levels. Perfect for treating dry, dehydrated, chapped and sensitive skin.
Epilobium, feed your skin microbiome
“Nowadays I see Epilobium exact everywhere.” says Pedro. “I first began formulating with it in 2007, but it is not surprising that it has become so popular as it is great at naturally reducing excessive sebum production. What’s more, recent studies have shown it can improve the health of our skin microbiome, boosting the good bacteria and reducing the bad,” he concludes.
Indeed, as online searches for ingredients that control excess oil and acne have doubled since the pandemic broke out (mainly due to the use of masks and “maskné”), this has made Epilobium extract the go-to remedy of many to treat their skin.
Ideal Rebalancing Level Serum, formulated to controls excess sebum and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, is rich in Epilobium. Furthermore, this oil-free serum also reinforces the skin barrier, meaning skin is less likely to be affected by hormonal changes and external stressors.
Polysaccharides, superstar skincare ingredients
Sugar compounds are responsible for skin’s natural ability to maintain hydration levels and retain water. They are essential for epidermal repair and renewal. They have been used in skincare products for decades as a stealthy filler ingredient in high-end formulas. But it is only recently that their skin benefits are gaining the recognition that they deserve.
Their most important action on skin is that they help restore barrier function, generating a protective “film” on the skin that maintains a balanced and delayed-effect hydration (chrono-release). Also, this protective film guards against allergic reactions and helps soften skin.
The top polysaccharides to look out for are those such as Gum Ceratonia siliqua (or Gum locust bean gum, present in Rapid Eye Treatment). This mixture of sugars hail from carob tree seeds and form a viscoelastic film on skin, improving the appearance of fine lines. Or Saccharide Isomerate. Found in Ideal Moisture Level Serum, it works as a moisture magnet, preventing trans-epidermal water loss. Another important sugar compound is Sodium PCA, which is hygroscopic (attracts and retains water).
Jojoba, the master hydrator
This misnamed “oil”, as it is actually a liquid wax, was one of the first skincare ingredients Dr Pedro Catalá chose to include in his formulas due to its infinite skin benefits. Indeed, it can be found in the very first Twelve Beauty product (Rewarding Body Balm), as well as in one of its recent launches: Jojoba Quench Body Serum.
Why is the good doctor such a big fan? Because jojoba is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids. Furthermore, it has antibacterial properties, seals in moisture, soothes and reinforces the skin barrier. And, if that was not enough, it also helps balance combination and oily skin. This liquid “gold” has fantastic skin affinity, being instantly absorbed without leaving any residue. What is not to love?
The jojoba used in Jojoba Quench Body Serum is organic, virgin and cold-pressed, which ensures great purity and quality. Thanks to the temperature-controlled, chemical-free extraction process it undergoes, all its original properties are preserved.
Squalane, a tailor-made cloak for the skin
“Although Squalane was discovered a long time ago, the constant search in the beauty world for effective active ingredients has recently led to a renewed interest in this molecule,” comments Pedro.
Despite being so well-known, its name generates a lot of confusion: Squalene or Squalane? “Squalene is one of the main components of human sebum and it helps reduce water loss caused by evaporation and it also protects us against solar radiation and free radical damage. On the other hand, Squalane is a derivative of Squalene obtained through hydrogenation, a chemical process accepted in the natural beauty world. This process makes the molecule less prone to oxidation and, consequently, increases its shelf life.” explains Pedro.
Squalene is a skin lipid (a key part of human sebum) whose function is to keep skin hydrated so that it retains its elasticity and flexibility. Its production decreases with age, which is why Squalane is such a popular ingredient found in many creams and lotions.
Squalane can be either plant-derived or not. Twelve Beauty uses Squalane sourced from olive trees. You can find a healthy skin dose of this wonder ingredient in Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream, the brand’s ultra-calming and skin-kind cleanser. It is the perfect product for a non-aggressive facial cleanse, day and night.